Infections with mimivirus in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

M.J. Vanspauwen, F.M.E. Franssen, D. Raoult, E.F.M. Wouters, C.A. Bruggeman, C.F.M. Linssen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Antibodies against mimivirus, a recently discovered giant virus, have been found in patients presenting with pneumonia suggesting a potential role for this virus as a respiratory pathogen. Several bacterial and viral pathogens have been associated with the occurrence of acute exacerbations in COPD. However, a large part of these exacerbations have an unknown cause. In the present study we evaluated the presence of mimivirus in sputum samples of COPD patients. Methods: From March 2009 until January 2010 all sputum samples collected during stable conditions and during exacerbations of COPD patients, referred for pulmonary rehabilitation, were included. All sputum samples were analysed by real-time PCR targeting mimivirus. Furthermore, serum samples were analysed for the presence of antibodies against mimivirus. Results: A total of 220 sputum samples from 109 patients were eligible for inclusion. None of the sputum samples showed the presence of mimivirus DNA. Antibodies against mimivirus were detected in 3 serum samples from 3 patients, of which one showed an increase in antibody-titre. Conclusions: Although mimivirus was suggested as a potential respiratory pathogen, its presence could not be confirmed in the present study-population of patients with COPD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1690-1694
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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